DWP proposes rate increase for major users

first_imgThe DWP’s proposed budget focuses on upgrading its aging infrastructure, with $1.57 billion set aside for construction and maintenance of the power system and $672 million for the water system. A heat wave last summer overwhelmed the city’s power distribution system, most of which is 40 to 70 years old. Over the next five years, the DWP plans to spend up to $140 million for a power reliability program and up to $90 million for maintenance. The budget also provides $181 million to develop wind, solar and other “green power” projects to help L.A. reach its goal of providing 20 percent of its power from renewable sources. In addition, the budget anticipates hiring roughly 400 more employees to staff expanded construction and maintenance crews. The Los Angeles DWP this month will consider hiking power rates for customers who use the most electricity, officials said Tuesday as they announced a $4 billion budget for the coming fiscal year. Specifics of the proposed rate increase – including who would be affected – will be announced May 15, said Department of Water and Power General Manager Ronald Deaton. He added that he expects resistance from customers over the plan, which is designed to curtail waste. “We believe we need to change the rates to give better incentives to energy efficiency,” Deaton told the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. Any change in power rates would be on top of a 2.75 percent hike in water rates approved by the mayor and City Council last year. The budget quadruples funding for energy-efficiency programs, with $79 million available for compact fluorescent light bulbs, refrigerators and other appliances that will save an estimated 300 gigawatt-hours of power a year. The utility is planning to give customers free light bulbs in the next year, then offer discounts on the super-efficient bulbs after that. DWP Board President H. David Nahai said the board aims to cut unnecessary spending wherever possible. “We will be scrutinizing every dollar to be spent and drilling down into all aspects of this budget to ensure that it makes the necessary investments toward providing reliable, high-quality energy and water services in the most efficient manner possible.” [email protected] (213) 978-0390last_img read more

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